“What is the robbing of the bank compared to the founding of a bank”…BERTOLT BRECHT

November 2020 witnessed America affirming that it isn’t just its name that embodies unity but that it breathes the democratic ‘unity’ of the age. So far as we are told, it was a victory of conscience over everything that we consider evil (And the paternal platitude that Joe Biden is the true son of America).  An old quip from Brecht mentioned above positions itself perfectly for the current situation. Before grappling with it, let’s just glance towards another event which happened to take place around this time, although a bit old.

The October Revolution registered its 103rd year before the American results were out. In the eternal sense of Brecht’s remark, Soviet Russia stood for the robbers and America, the founders. (The title of this essay should be understood in this light) But if we are to qualify this remark in a temporal sense, then interesting things emerge. Americans (the ones that clamour for a change) see Donald Trump to be the robber of its aesthetic existence and Joe Biden as the foundation of their existence. Quite striking is the fact that the ‘significance’ of the robber traversed itself into a kind akin to vulgarity over the years.

The events of the 1917 Revolution are over the years seen rather as a lesson on insurrectional tactics and for some as an opportunity to establish Leon Trotsky among the ‘so-called’ pantheon. We need to revisit the event like in the case of Plato’s cave to organize our exit better, and also for the simple maxim that it is in fact a crime to wait. (Trotsky can be situated in our democratic cognitive map as someone who didn’t wait at ALL) The events which unfolded in the year 2020 particularly in America are to be seen as a moment of revulsion; a pure loathing for the current regime. Revolution in the sense that the Soviets showed is an organized effort to accumulate the political means to undo their despotic existence. Americans didn’t harbour this vital characteristic. For them, the only political means is the right to vote. Everyday existence is the kernel of revolution and Americans never feel endangered by that. For them, it is the envisioning that perplexes them. Their state of things is excellent unless any visioning takes place (even a spin-off  like Trump).

Another aspect is the level of ‘democracy’ in each of these events. Democracy as Alain Badiou put it: is an old fellow grafted into a young guy. The world as it is today is comprised mainly of what we can term as neo democrats; Those of us who own no fidelity to any event but still create the possibility of being aware of it, those who uphold humanism as an inert difference, those that throw stones in to the dark under the garb of inactive activism. We are at a point in our ‘democratic’ existence where its historicity is getting established. The October Revolution had a penchant for democratic socialism but its ultimatum was to give birth to nomadic proletarians- those that can tantalize the subjective under any circumstance.

The American election is nothing but a footnote to the discourse needed since it didn’t create any tantalizing figures. Democracy always has in its arsenal an ability to demystify things. But as a consequence of its simplicity, it has led to a mystification of the human subject. Juxtaposing Soviet Russia and America is a reminder to not acquiesce into Democracy as an end; only as a means. Evo Morales’ party came back to power in Bolivia through democracy, but that possibility is seen by the people as something larger than the ‘becoming’ of democracy. And that’s what this is all about finally.

Harinandanan Rajesh, Currently doing an undergraduation in History at the University of Delhi.

Email: harinandanan1@gmail.com


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